Successfully Implementing an IAM Solution — and Making the Case for It at Your Company

By: James O'Brien| - Leave a comment


As a business grows, the number of users accessing critical company systems grows as well, meaning the need for identity and access management (IAM) solutions is bound to scale at pace.

The advent of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) expectations among employees has further multiplied the number of checkpoints that IT must attend to as part of its daily mission. Add to that an increasing demand for cloud migration when it comes to apps and data access, and you’ve got a tall task for IT teams trying to lock down corporate data.

The proliferation of user access profiles also adds to the number of permissions given per user — access privileges that are then often left in place as employees or contractors move from one project to another. In this way, TechTarget noted, businesses are saddled with a trend toward privilege creep.

Given these developments, IAM becomes critical to IT’s ability to address evolving user access scenarios. Yet the case for these systems can be difficult to make — that is, the value proposition is seldom about increasing profits or functionality. The following approaches and concepts can help IT successfully select and earn support for IAM solutions.

Users Represent Multiple Identities

Identity verification tools cannot depend on HR data sets alone. To understand the complexity with which the modern IT department works, think about the ways a single user can hold multiple identities — from staff to contractor and even to one as a customer of the business.

As Martin Kuppinger noted at KuppingerCole Analysts, “There is no central directory anymore, neither for humans nor for all the other things and services.” Identity and access management tools represent the future of securing each type of relationship, and the systems that work best will work independently of older identity-data models.

Remember that the information gathered is distributable as a human resource asset as well. When making the case for value, the point here is actually about bolstering and potentially streamlining the company’s HR data.

Cloud Providers Excel at Assets, Not Data Security

Making the argument for IAM solutions in the cloud starts with communicating what cloud providers do best: They provide migration, storage and collaborative tools for the user. It takes managed security, global threat intelligence and a team of dynamic vulnerability researchers to protect business assets once they’re uploaded to the cloud.

Choosing the right identity and access management solution is about identifying the functionality that closes the asset/security gap. When making the case for implementation, it’s another point of leverage. Businesses that spend on cloud functionality can’t afford unmanaged data exposure in that very same space.

Strong Defense and a Positive User Experience in IAM Solutions

It’s easy for security and risk professionals to focus on the data protection benefits of identity and access management alone, but the user experience it provides is just as important. Leaders must choose systems that are strong but not overly burdensome. Remember that the goal in selecting an IAM approach is to never sacrifice seamless customer experiences for a complicated mess of so-called impenetrable systems.

It’s another part of the case for implementing IAM and winning the resources to fund it: Sophisticated and dynamic identity and access solutions minimize customer and employee pain points. It is a result that protects the company’s reputation and could prove, in its own way, as significant as protecting data.

The key to the above approaches is to understand the value packed into identity and access management as a kind of company-wide axiom. A 360-degree vantage into all the ways data is tapped and used gives businesses the power to manage not only threats — the key and most important function of IAM — but also to understand the patterns and insights surrounding productivity and use cases.

On a day-to-day basis, these are advantages that not only secure valuable assets, but also stand to drive stronger decision-making on all levels of the business.

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About The Author

James O'Brien

Freelance Writer

As a journalist and writer in the branded content space, James O'Brien covers business, technology, social media, marketing, film, food, wine, writing and news. The Nieman Journalism Lab has called his work in the custom content space "sponsored content done right." He has written for major regional newspapers, and he has managed and edited established, startup and turnaround newsrooms in varied markets, from community papers to major-city dailies. He consults for firms and businesses — startups to seasoned — on the creation of effective content strategies and the establishment of practical editorial calendars for enacting them. O'Brien holds a Ph.D. in Editorial Studies from the Editorial Institute at Boston University, where he researched and edited Bob Dylan's other-than-song writings. He is engaged in a bibliography for Oxford University Press, covering writings about filmmaker John Cassavetes. He is the author of "The Indie Writer's Survival Guide." His short stories and poetry are published in numerous journals and magazines.

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